News Briefs: by Lance Coleman

Overbey proposes fix for loophole in Vet tax relief
Representative Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) is proposing legislation that would remove a loophole in the current law that allows veterans disabled in combat to receive property tax relief.

In a release from Overbey’s office, the District 20 representative said the current law maintains that the state provide property tax relief for veterans who are 100 percent disabled if the disability is combat-related.

Overbey’s bill would remove the language "combat related" from the statute and amend it to say, "service-connected." Sen. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) is the Senate sponsor.

"Veterans deserve to be honored and compensated for what they do for each and every citizen," said Overbey. "For example, if they are injured in the course of a training mission, they would not currently be eligible. But even in this case, they are still servicing our country and deserve benefits as a result."

The bill would take effect on Jan. 1, 2008 if passed as is, and would apply to tax years beginning on or after that date.

Two groups join for meeting to compare counties
Citizens for Better Government and Citizens for Blount County’s Future are having a public meeting titled "A Tale of Two Counties" at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, in the Sharon Lawson Room of the Blount County Public Library.

The presentation will look at a comparison between Blount County and Washington County, with concentration on resources and budgets.

Experience Your Smokies nominations being accepted
Experience Your Smokies (EYS) is accepting nominations for the Class of 2007 through Friday, March 30. Experience Your Smokies provides behind-the-scenes educational experiences to the leadership of Blount County.

Nominations can come from anyone in the community, and individuals are encouraged to nominate themselves. Class members commit to six half-day sessions from August through December, as well as participation in one service project. Tuition for the program is $100 per person.

The mission of EYS is to facilitate an appreciation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and provide opportunities to be engaged in issues of mutual interest. Approximately 200 alumni from throughout Blount County have completed the program since its inception in 2001. The National Park Service provides subject experts to lead hands-on activities related to such topics as wildlife management, air quality, citizen science and park management.

The Class of 2007 will begin with a kickoff reception in July 2007 and a graduation ceremony in Jan. 2008. For application forms or more information, contact Herb Handly at the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau, 448-6134.

State Revenue department extends deadline to April 17
Tennessee taxpayers will have until Tuesday, April 17, to file state taxes normally due April 15, the Tennessee Department of Revenue announced today. The revenue department’s decision to extend the filing time follows an announcement earlier this year by the Internal Revenue Service that it was changing its federal income tax deadline nationwide to April 17 for this year only.

The April 17, 2007, deadline will apply to Hall income tax and franchise and excise taxes.

"We will follow the IRS’s lead in regard to the April 17 filing deadline. As always, we encourage taxpayers to utilize our on-line tax filing applications," said Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr.

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 92 percent of total state tax revenue.

Maryville College to host Army Band concert
Maryville College will serve as host for the premier ensemble of the Army Ground Forces, The Concert Band, Tuesday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Wilson Chapel. The band is headquartered in Atlanta. The concert is free and open to the public.

Under the direction of the band’s commander, Major Daniel J. Steiger, the group maintains a large and varied repertoire that includes all facets of traditional and contemporary wind literature, as well as orchestral transcriptions, marches, instrumental and vocal solos, popular tunes, and patriotic music, according to a press release. The ensemble has traveled throughout the United States, performing in such halls as Severance Hall, Spivey Hall, and Woodruff Arts Center, and with numerous artists, including the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and Miss America.

Major Daniel J. Steiger contacted Maryville College Associate Professor of Music Larry Smithee to arrange the performance. Smithee, who also serves as the director of the Maryville College-Community Concert Band, said he was honored at the opportunity to host and present the ensemble.

"A performance by the Army Ground Forces Band on our campus presents an exciting opportunity for our college and area community," said Smithee. "Serving as musical ambassadors of the American combat soldier, the band program is
guaranteed to spark the patriotic spirit in all of us."

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